Guy Madison was one of Hollywood’s original ‘beefcakes’, a man known and adored more for his looks than his acting talent. But in the burgeoning visual age of the mid 20th century, that was more than enough.
Guy Madison and Shirley Temple behind the scenes of the 1947 movie Honeymoon. hoto by Al St Hilaire/United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock (5867348a)

He looks like just another Hollywood hunk to us now, but Guy Madison was once one of the most familiar faces in America. His role as television’s Wild Bill Hickok in the 1950s made him one of the biggest stars on screen, an icon of undemanding mass entertainment. The tough-but-fair cowboy figure he established in that role was what would keep him in work for 40 years, but in truth that was already his second act. Before then, he had made his name as one of the first male pin-ups of a new era of film, packaged and sold to the public as a sex symbol, regardless of acting talent, in a manner that would help define the next 50 years of entertainment.


James Medd


July 2021


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